Rock Accountant

Rock’s Briefest Roadie

I was a roadie for one gig. I worked for a band named ” Five Dollar Shoes.” A folk singer named Melanie who later hired me owned them.
She also named them, stealing an idea from an old black song,” Mommy, won’t you please buy me a pair of one dollar shoes? She cunningly upgraded it to “five dollars.”
In the long term, this revision did not help.
I was paid to lug their equipment to a club on the beach somewhere in southern New Jersey. They were to open for “Sly and the Family Stone.” Sly was a fucking God. He was also an undependable shit-bag.
We loaded up the small U haul truck with all their stage gear and spent the day driving down from New York. The guy in charge of me knew how to plug in the electronics. In the pantheon of all human knowledge, this was all he knew that I did not.
We unloaded and set up the gear. Our band, “The Shoes” showed up ready and on time for the soundcheck. They resembled a more garishly inexpensive imitation of Queen and Freddy Mercury shoved into a dryer full of scarves.
The show was canceled without our boys even getting on stage because Sly didn’t show. We packed up the shit again and drove back to New York. I quit the next day.
I may well have been a roadie for the shortest period in Rock history. A tie was the best anyone else could ever manage.

Peter Gabriel

Peter was a slightly better friend to me than I was to him. We kind of both betrayed each other. One of his children is my goddaughter.

He shaved a rectangular spot in the middle of his forehead for our second American tour. At the time, I didn’t think it was a good move. I don’t think anyone else did either. There is, as yet, no firm ruling on this.

Soft spoken, Peter seemed to be eternally interrupting his own thoughts in mid sentence. Knowing what he wanted was a little like painting a slab of Jello. The ever shifting cadence in his speech made you consider grabbing him until he was finished.

Peter, I believe, understood his verbal hesitation and simply waited the process out by thinking of other things while talking. It was very hard work to get angry with him. He was easy to make laugh, but again you could not be certain you had inspired it. He had the easy soul of a man with gifts.

The only member of the band at that time who did not want to be in charge was Phil Collins. It took poor Phil years to wring one solo song for himself in the set. Even that was essentially a duet because he held a mechanical monkey that banged the beat with his mechanical cymbals while Phil sang. Steven Spielberg stole that monkey to use in “Close Encounters of The Third Kind.”
It was the shortest song they did. It could have been a single, but the others would never have allowed it. Besides the monkey would have wanted in on the radio royalties.

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